All Photos Courtesy of Greg Osborne
Like every other musician in the world who is in to recording music, I have always wanted my own studio. Now don’t get me wrong, I have had some really nice “Home Studios” before but this time (thanks to my awesome wife) my lifelong dream of owning/building/running my own professional recording studio is becoming a reality.
The Studio design was done completely by me using online CAD software and I think the end result will be just perfect for the type of work that I am currently doing. I will spend the next 5 or 6 weeks updating this post with pictures, how-to’s etc. so please check back often.
Let’s begin with the drawing of the studio. As you can see, the whole building is 24′ x 18′. Reason for this size is due to the available space and budget. It will be plenty big enough I’m sure. The Control Room is 13’x11′ with an adjoining Isolation Booth that is 5’x7′ (with a 5’x4′ closet) included. The Live Room is 13’x18′. Now, I know that you are not supposed to make a recording studio a perfect square or rectangle. but, since this is being built on our property, the likelihood of someone buying our house years down the road and finding that “odd, slightly off” building in the back useful for anything else, makes me think twice about building it to “professional specifications”. So the sound characteristics of the recording studio will be handled on the inside once construction is complete.
Along with a 3’x6′ Studio window and a 3’x3′ Isolation Booth window (in blue on the drawing) there will also be a laminate flooring area (approx. 6’x8′) that is for the drums. Doing this adds the ability to make the drums more “bright” or more “controlled” by removing the rug from underneath them.
Here is the area behind the existing 24’x33′ garage the morning before construction. Notice how beautiful the yard is prior to construction. : )
The workers showed up on time and are now removing the grass and digging out the ground to get it ready for the base layer of gravel.
The gravel foundation for the concrete is almost complete.
Gravel is finished and they are ready to lay the rebar and concrete. It is starting to look like something!
The foundation is ready for concrete. It is amazing how quickly these steps get done!
Here is the finished concrete slab. It doesn’t look very big but I assure you that it is the right size.
The framing has begun. I went out about 20 minutes after they arrived and they already have one wall up!
I am starting to get an idea of exactly what the building is going to look like!
In the blink of an eye, the walls are up and the wooden sides are on. This literally took about 15 minutes.
The inside framing is up and I noticed that they had put the window and door of the control room on the wrong side, so they fixed it. It is really important when you are having something built to always be involved. Remember, they are working for you!
The roof frame is up and they are closing it in. They also installed the waterproof layer on the outside of the wood.
Now it looks like an actual building! I cant wait to see what they will do on the next day!
The workers showed up early and are working on getting the siding and metal roof installed.
The siding is almost complete and matches the garage perfectly! I did this by design so that it isn’t obvious that there is a recording studio with a lot of expensive equipment in there. Though I have an alarm system, you can never be too careful.
The installation of the electrical has been completed. After seeing everything in place, I decided to add a few more lights than the original design. One above the console and another in the middle of the Live Room.
The Control Room now has Drywall on 3 sides and a Door! This is all coming together very nicely. I am starting to get a little excited about it being finished!
Drywall is all up and the AC/Heat is in and working great! (its about 36 degrees outside) Tomorrow they are going to start finishing the drywall and preparing to do the ceiling.
The Finishing process has begun. Lots of mud and sanding. Now that all the drywall is up you can definitely see how it is going to look when its completed.
The ceiling is done, the windows are in and the walls are primed. Is amazing how much a little trim makes in the look of everything.
Here is the view from the control room in to the live room and ISO booth.
Here you can see the angle of the control room window. This is done to help with the sound bouncing straight back. The slanted window instead points the sound towards the ground.
The 1st coat of paint has been applied! The colors look a little funny in the picture, but when you see the flooring I picked out, it will all make sense!
From inside the Control Room.
From inside the ISO Booth.
Paint is done! The only things left are a few exterior lights and the flooring!
It’s time for Flooring!
With all the flooring in it was time to clean up. I cant wait to start adding all the equipment, etc.
In the debate over Mac or PC, in my opinion there is one true winner… but everyone’s opinion is different due to the nature of the project you are working on, and your budget.
Your decision should also be based on your experience level. Are you new to recording music? Are you a seasoned professional? I will take you through every level in hopes that in the end of this article, you will at least have a better idea of what your needs are.
Cost: True or False: You have to have a million dollars worth of equipment to sound like a million dollar recording? False. The most important part of your recording gear doesn’t cost you a dime and you were born with them attached to your head. It’s your Ears. You will then need to build your gear around your ears and your budget carefully. There are a lot of great mixers, interfaces, etc. out there that don’t cost a whole lot and will last you for years if you just know what you are looking for and where to find it.
PC’s are definitely a lot better on your budget and are more readily available. You can get on any online selling website these days and pick up a great PC for around $200 – $300 that would make a great home studio rig. The Mac however is a little harder to find, and costs usually around twice as much. The thing to remember is that just because the Mac costs more, doesn’t mean that it is the best choice. I have recorded with both PC’s and Mac’s for years now and they both have their advantages though they differ in price.
Compatibility: When choosing the Mac or PC make sure that any existing equipment that you already have (mixers, interfaces, software, etc.) will be compatible with your new system. This is one category where I agree that the PC is far superior. Most modern software (Pro Tools, Cubase, etc.) is available and compatible with most PC and Mac systems, but the difference lies in the details.
The PC’s for example will usually run many versions of the recording software on the same version of Windows. So you will have many more options on which versions of software you will get to use and they will not need to be upgraded for years if all goes right. The Mac however is a little different. As with everything Mac, software, hardware etc. is always reliant upon what version of OSX (10.5.5, 10.6.1, etc.) that you are using. Then you have to make sure that each individual piece of equipment and recording software is also compatible with your exact version of OSX. Now, I know from personal experience that even thought Mac will tell you that the version of Pro Tools 8 won’t work on OSX 10.6.1, i have seen it first hand and it seemed to work fine. Mac is just very careful about guaranteeing anything that might come back and bite them. Can’t blame them. One plus of the Mac is they will usually come with recording software called “Garage Band” installed. Now, this isn’t as fancy as Cusbase or Pro Tools but you can always upgrade it later.
So when choosing the Mac or PC for your home studio, make sure to be aware of what versions of recording software work with what versions of operating software. In the end, it will save a lot of headaches, trust me.
Performance: In the overall grand scheme of things, most people will tell you that Macs are faster… I disagree. Have you ever noticed that all big time gamers use PC’s? The real contest here is which one is more productive. The PC is a great platform with almost unlimited options on memory, motherboards, etc. but PC’s are more prone to conflicts from viruses and hardware failures. The Mac, though it has many less options, will work straight out of the box and will give you years of service with fewer conflicts. This is important when deciding which platform to choose to be the workhorse of your home studio.
Closing Arguments: I have used both Mac’s and PC’s in my 20+ years of experience recording music and for me, the Mac has always been a much less aggravating experience for making music. I am much more productive with the Mac and there seems to be fewer snags when I decide to make a song, and I worry less about security, crashing, and compatibility when I want to add on to my system. That doesn’t mean that I am against using PC’s, I just think for my projects the Mac was the best choice.
Please don’t let this detour you from trying out your own ideas and seeing what works best for you and your budget.
In the end, the most important thing is that you are comfortable and confident with your gear so you can spend less time fiddling with it and more time recording with it.
Deacon Tim over and out.
Please leave your comments below!